Shades of Gray

Jake Lawler came to UNC in 2017 with a football scholarship, a passion for movies and a talent for writing. A longtime foe followed him there, one that he had known since middle school — when he wore crooked glasses and ill-fitting clothes and was teased for being a mixed-race kid.

CAR-T is still largely experimental — a futuristic, staggering, frustrating therapy that sometimes works and sometimes does not. (Roger Harris/Science Photo Library)

To Build a Cure

They’re the most promising cancer assassins to come along in your lifetime, but their mission is far from complete. CAR-T is still largely experimental — a futuristic, staggering, frustrating therapy that sometimes works and sometimes does not.

The Banghart Way

Last spring, Courtney Banghart earned the job of a lifetime when she was named the first new Tar Heels women’s basketball coach in 33 years, replacing a coach and taking over a program whose shine had faded under the tarnish of scandal and disconnection. The role is tailor-made for Jim Banghart’s daughter: An opportunity to repair a beloved thing that has fallen out of favor, to patch its holes and mend its stitches — and then go out and win with it.

The Student Body Shop 

What you see, smell and hear here is shop class and home economics refurbished for the digital age. Hundreds of willing participants know this as BeAM, or “be a maker,” UNC’s answer to the worldwide makerspace movement — the collaborative culture of making physical objects using both digital and traditional tools. Now entering its fourth year, BeAM makerspaces are leading the Carolina community and its students through a re-emergence of know-how, in and out of the classroom.

The Art of Perseverance

Students are incredulous when Walters proffers this deal. “You’re going to give me more time and a higher grade? What’s the catch?” But that’s how making and inventing works in the real world, he said. Like pumping gas in a Vermont winter, the first decisions you make often are not your best.

Why Not? The Art of Believing

When Katie Ziglar believes in the power of an idea or a project, it persists — across the decades, across continents, through the halls of the Smithsonian, in the mansions of maharajas, over the demolition of gender barriers and through her polite-but-persistent, lifelong takedown of the phrase, “That can’t be done.”

First, Do No Harm

For Dr. Tim Ives, who worked in a Utah methadone clinic during his pharmacy residency in the early 1980s, the OxyContin era is the latest in an endless cycle of drug epidemics in the U.S.

“It’s pharmaceutical Whac-A-Mole,” Ives said. “Nothing’s changed. It’s just the products have changed. We’re getting better at measuring [drug abuse]. Now we’ve got to start getting better at treatment — and treatment is not a drug. It’s mental health. People are still out there who have a medical condition, and the condition is substance dependence.”

Don’t Lecture Me

Kelly Hogan’s new normal began one day in 2010 when Bob Henshaw, an instructional consultant at UNC’s Center for Faculty Excellence, placed a troubling collection of statistics on her desk. They showed that underrepresented students — blacks and first-generation college students — were disproportionately scoring Ds and Fs in her classes.

The Missionary

“Isn’t this a great view?” Shirley Ort asks in her elegant, lilting voice of the scene outside her Pettigrew Hall window. Ort’s office is modest, but the world beyond it is indeed spectacular, an October burst of yellow and orange across the expanse of McCorkle Place, with ruddy brick walkways crisscrossing the fading summer grass, all paths paved with opportunity. This view was unthinkable to Ort at 17, a world of higher consciousness closed to a girl from an impoverished rural family.

The Champion and Runner-Up

Karen Shelton’s cap, as always, was pulled down low on her forehead, and her ponytail sat at attention through the adjustable band at the cap’s back. She rested her arms at 90-degree angles on the table in front of her and listened calmly as her players, raw and emotional, fidgeted their way through the torturous ritual of crystallizing for a handful of media the meaning behind the moment: What were you thinking when you fell to the ground, sobbing, as time ran out? Can you talk about what it has meant to be a part of this team for four years, to play in four title games and win only one of them?